The Probate Division of the Warren County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court has a set of rules that govern proceedings before the court’s judges. The rules address case management, fees, bonds, and a lot of other issues. There are also rules for approval of actions by structured settlements. And there are rules that govern proposed transfers of structured settlement payment rights under the Ohio Structured Settlement Protection Act. The Ohio SSPA provides that a sale of payment rights is not effective without court approval, or without the transaction meeting other standards set by the statute.
Since 2014, the Warren County court rules also set standards, for petitioning parties seeking to obtain court approval in SSPA proceedings.
In particular, the rules – readopted effective January 1, 2017, with no changes to the SSPA rules – provide as follows:
(A) Applicants seeking court approval to transfer structured settlement payment rights shall file with the application a Statement of Financial Affairs (Official Form 7) as is required of Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitioner.
(B) If the transfer of the structured settlement payment rights is sought in whole, or in part to pay the applicant’s current creditors;
1. The applicant shall provide documentation of the amounts owed each creditor; and
2. The Court may order that the purchaser shall issue payment directly to each such creditor identified by the applicant.
Rule 21, Rules of Court, Warren County Common Pleas Court (effective Jan. 1, 2017). As for the Statement of Financial Affairs (Official Form 7) required of Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitioners, that form requires considerable amount of detail from a debtor about his or her:
- Income from employment;
- Income from other sources;
- Payments to creditors, including name of creditor and amount still owed;
- Foreclosures and repossessions;
- Closed financial accounts;
- Pension funds; and
- Other financial information.
(See the Statement of Financial Affairs form, available here.)
In other jurisdictions, judges similarly have been requiring a greater level of detail to determine whether to grant judicial approval of structured settlement factoring transactions – and, particularly, to provide the reviewing judge with enough information to determine whether the transfer meets the applicable standards set by state SSPAs, such as whether a transfer is in the best interests of a payee, taking into consideration the payee’s dependents.